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Doctors Bypass Biometric Scanners With Fake Fingers

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the no-technology-can-trump-laziness dept.

Security 139

jfruh writes "At a Brazilian hospital, doctors were required to check in with a fingerprint scanner to show that they've showed up for work. Naturally, they developed a system to bypass this requirement, creating fake fingers so that they could cover for one another when they took unauthorized time off. Another good example of how supposedly foolproof security tech can in fact be fooled pretty easily."

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139 comments

Biometrics are not secrets. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184363)

All the security experts who think that biometrics are the end-all-be-all of security are mistaken. Biometrics are not secrets, so once one knows your biometric id, they can impersonate you and you can't change your password!

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184377)

Yep. From fucking your ass so much I have a perfect molds of your rectum and colon.

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184481)

You're a homosexual rapist?

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184505)

Nope he paid me good money for my services.

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (5, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#43184741)

A decade ago, a friend of mine suggested that if they *really* wanted foolproof biometrics, to use "colon terrain mapping".

I told him that I wasn't sure that I could be his friend anymore...

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | about a year ago | (#43184997)

I really thought you'd go out on a limb for your friend here and actively demonstrate to him why this is such a bad idea.

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43186215)

Maybe the friend was hoping it would be demonstated on him

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (5, Funny)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#43185013)

I hope he does not have a job selling hardware to the TSA.

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (1, Interesting)

Terkanil (1533411) | about a year ago | (#43184951)

Biometrics are not difficult. Others have commented on this as well. For demonstrations with Biometrics, there's an episode of Mythbusters that is right up you're alley. They laughably show how easy it is to bypass multiple biometric options.

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (2)

PRMan (959735) | about a year ago | (#43185003)

IIRC, Adam licked a photocopy of his finger and bypassed it.

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43184969)

So how would using a password-based system prevent the doctors from sharing their passwords with each other and continue slacking off?

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185047)

So how would using a password-based system prevent the doctors from sharing their passwords with each other and continue slacking off?

That's a social problem. There is no technological solution. I repeat, technology cannot solve every problem. How do you solve this problem? Check once and a while. The guys daughter was listed as being there every day for three years and never worked a single day. The people who just trusted a glorified punch card machine instead of once verifying it in person should be fired too.

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (2)

Molochi (555357) | about a year ago | (#43185329)

Really it's no different than sharing a postit note with your password.

I've never worked anywhere where biometric scans wouldn't involve a full fake hand and a PIN to go with it. I'm guessing doctors would just sharpie that on the back of a rubber hand... and the pin would of course be 1-2-3-4-5-6.

Re:Biometrics are not secrets. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#43185545)

So how would using a password-based system prevent the doctors from sharing their passwords with each other and continue slacking off?

Unique password dongle (like some companies use to grant vpn access) might help. Since only one at a time can exist for any particular doctor, it at least makes the logistics of covering for someone more difficult.

But I think the person who suggested colon terrain mapping has a good idea. It'd go something like this. "The first time we catch someone trying to game the system, we're switching to colon terrain mapping to grant access to the building. And if we're feeling really magnanimous, you just might get private rooms.

But as yet someone else said, then it becomes a social problem.

"supposedly foolproof security tech" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184373)

Oh, alright, the security tech *is* foolproof, it's just that the doctors are no fools. :-) (Just like a bulletproof vest won't protect you from a baseball bat. See, it's not a bullet!)

Re:"supposedly foolproof security tech" (5, Interesting)

Let's All Be Chinese (2654985) | about a year ago | (#43184633)

You'd have to be a right fool to be unable to fool these things [slashdot.org] . As in the link, as here, the application has very little to do with security. It's a people problem, and you can't fix those solely with technology.

Worse, treating it as a technical problem and attacking it with security kit gives a strong signal to your own {doctors,pupils,*} that they're all criminals and need to be treated as such. This in turn creates a powerful incentive to game the system.

What we have here is an incompetent administration trying to fix their mess through shitting on their underlings some more, using technology. Underlings know and dislike this.

And so gaming the system is what they'll do. This quite apart from biometrics being inappropriate everywhere but in criminal forensics. Be careful what you ask for and all that.

Re:"supposedly foolproof security tech" (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#43184761)

Let's face it, nothing will ever be secure as long as people are involved.

Time to start getting rid of them. ;)

Re:"supposedly foolproof security tech" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185533)

In the English-speaking world they don't stop until you have only two options, They put it in a different way in a comment in the movie "Sin City": "sometimes you have to die, and sometimes you have to kill a hell of a lot of people".

Re:"supposedly foolproof security tech" (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43185543)

Time to start getting rid of them. ;)

...and that would solve their problem, right there.

Of course, I don't mean get rid of them in the execution sense, but more in the "you're fired - pack your shit and get out while the security guard escorts you." sense.

Find the most obvious slackers, fire them publicly and loudly, blackball the crap out of them using factual evidence (this isn't the US - good luck suing), and you may be impressed with how quickly the other doctors fall in line.

Re:"supposedly foolproof security tech" (2)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about a year ago | (#43186351)

Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battlestation!

Retina Scanners... (1)

chad.koehler (859648) | about a year ago | (#43184385)

Probably would have held out longer.

Re:Retina Scanners... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184435)

I think you mean iris scanners. Retina scanners are science fiction.

Re:Retina Scanners... (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43184553)

I think you mean iris scanners. Retina scanners are science fiction.

Why, you mean the doctors can't diagnose retina diseases because you can't see the retina through the pupil?

Re:Retina Scanners... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184561)

retina scanners do exist, however iris scanning is more common because it is a simpler to do.

Re:Retina Scanners... (4, Informative)

ctime (755868) | about a year ago | (#43184919)

Iris scanners have lower false positive rejection rates and are more accurate than Retina scanners, which do exist. Retinas can become damaged and change with time, unlike the human iris which does not under normal circumstances change during lifetimes.

Iris scanners considered the best biometric authentication, they are also typically the most expensive (look up the LG scanner pricing).

http://www.lgiris.com/ps/products/previousmodels/irisaccess2200.htm [lgiris.com]

http://web2.utc.edu/~Li-Yang/cpsc4600/6-Iris-DNA/IRIS-Retina.ppt [utc.edu] has some good info on the differences.

Windows NT ® 4.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185083)

Windows NT ® 4.0 I will just hack the the out of date OS

Re:Retina Scanners... (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#43185263)

Iris scanners have lower false positive rejection rates and are more accurate than Retina scanners, which do exist. Retinas can become damaged and change with time, unlike the human iris which does not under normal circumstances change during lifetimes.

Isn't one of the possible side effects of Latisse and LiLash changes in iris color? Some glaucoma meds can do this too. Do iris scanners look at color and pattern? Or just the patterns?

Re:Retina Scanners... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#43185741)

They probably just look at the contrasts -kind of like a radial bar code.

Re:Retina Scanners... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185417)

In contrast, a carefully made cosmetic contact lense can bypass an iris scanner, while intentionally faking a retina is painful. Much like how fingerprint scanners are nicely non-invasive, but can be tricked by Gummy Bears.

Biometrics are an interesting component to a security system, but even full variety biometrics is not sufficient to make a proper access control. However, 'biometrics as username' is a convenient way to apply any of the more conventient technologies to a generally workable system.

Re:Retina Scanners... (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year ago | (#43184573)

The AC a few posts above must've thought this was about Rectal scanners ..

Re:Retina Scanners... (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43184719)

Probably would have held out longer.

A fingerprint scanner with a pulse detector (which many have) would have been fine too. Any security system can be bypassed with enough effort, so you need to consider what you are trying to protect, and make sure bypassing security is more trouble than it is worth. A doctor who wants an extra day off will obviously make a fake finger, but may not go to the trouble of making a pulse generator.

Re:Retina Scanners... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184855)

Pulse generators are trivial... Its called an acoustic transducer.

Re:Retina Scanners... (4, Interesting)

Vicarius (1093097) | about a year ago | (#43184887)

Pulse detector can be fooled too. Check the end of this presentation, where he tried different molds and techniques, and finally succeeds opening a safe that detects pulse using a fake fingerprint: DEFCON 19: Safe to Armed in Seconds: A Study of Epic Fails of Popular Gun Safes [youtube.com] .

Re:Retina Scanners... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43185351)

Pulse detector can be fooled too.

Of course it can be fooled. Any security system can be fooled with enough effort. You can duplicate a house key at any hardware store, but people still use house keys because they are "good enough". It is more trouble to duplicate a key than to just rob the neighbor's house with the unlocked window. Pulse checking fingerprint scanners can be fooled, face recognition can be fooled, iris scanners can be fooled. It is even possible to bypass 4096 bit encryption [xkcd.com] . You just need to consider what you are trying to protect, how much it inconveniences legitimate users, and choose something appropriate. For preventing doctors from taking a day off, a pulse detecting fingerprint scanner is probably good enough. For protecting smallpox viruses from Al-Qaeda, you should use something more robust.

 

Re:Retina Scanners... (0)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43184935)

A fingerprint scanner with a pulse detector (which many have)

I would hope all the doctors at the hospital in question have a pulse.

Re:Retina Scanners... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#43185163)

They will give the artificial fingers a pulse then. Put some tubes with a pump.

Re:Retina Scanners... (1)

jamiesan (715069) | about a year ago | (#43185221)

Now doctors just give each other the finger.

Re:Retina Scanners... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year ago | (#43185633)

Now doctors just give each other the finger.

The Digita Impudenta security breach was known to the Romans.

An important reminder... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43184421)

In addition to being a reminder that the people with a hard-on for 'biometrics' are either morons(Here you go, you were born with only ten passwords, so don't lose them!) or primarily interested in surveillance and tracking, or both; this is a useful reminder that 'security' is a system of interlocking parts Not a product you buy from your Solutions Vendor(tm) and set-and-forget.

We have the one doctor, who was caught with the fake fingers, along with at least three others who were ghosting through their shifts. She claims that they leaned on her, threatened her job if she refused to help with the con, they probably claim that she was in on the con and was absent on other days. Regardless of which of those is true, how many other people at the hospital would be in the position to notice whether or not a doctor is present and doing stuff? Probably more than a few. The front-desk servitors had to know what patient flow looked like, restock requests for supplies in various exam rooms can't have looked right, there are a lot more details than the punch-card machine here. This hospital isn't so much suffering from a 'fingerprint scanners are oversold' problem; but a problem with either massive cheating and/or apathy toward cheating, or unaccountable abuse of authority to suppress people who could have blown the whistle.

Re:An important reminder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184521)

Why would you trust your health to doctors who would go so far to cheat on timesheets? Perhaps the hospital adminstrators deliberately used a weak security system to identify ethically-challenged doctors. Har. Har.

Re:An important reminder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185313)

No. It was a public hospital, paid by taxpayer money, and the director was involved in the scam. Typical third-world corruption.

Re:An important reminder... (1)

jodido (1052890) | about a year ago | (#43186315)

"Third-world" corruption? Of course there's no corruption in public or private enterprises in the (so-called) first world.

Re:An important reminder... (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#43184545)

Doctors are treated like kings at medical centers and hospitals, especially private hospitals where the doctors are the practice owners. It wouldn't be surprising if the entire support staff turned a blind eye to abuse of the clock in system.

Re:An important reminder... (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#43184767)

At least they used 'fake' fingers.

I once worked with a pre-med student who would talk of the hijinks that would go on in the morgue. Goofy things like skipping rope with a body's intestines. One student left a dismembered hand holding money with a toll booth collector, he was expelled.

Re:An important reminder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185349)

My current partner is in mortuary school and does her labs at the morgue, I now fear strange things involving once living bodies will start to encroach on my life.

Re:An important reminder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184797)

The real "important reminder" is that doctors are merely human beings, driven by self-interest, just like the rest of us. In other words, doctors are no more or less trustworthy than any other human being.

Yet for some reason, there is a widespread belief that medical degrees are the product of altruism, rather than self-interest -- as if doctors are automatically more deserving of respect than other human beings. These people apparently didn't notice the doctor's $150,000 mercedes and $1,500,000 house.

Re:An important reminder... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43186131)

There are doctors who have $150k cars and $1.5M houses. But there are not very many of them, and the money they make treating patients isn't what paid for those things - they either have family money or are earning it from other businesses.

Medicine is a well-paid and interesting job, but in terms of lifetime earnings you're better off being a banker (and I mean a regular banker, not just the high end Wall Street finance guys). My wife and I are both doctors. We do take about two nice trips a year, but we don't have children, our house cost under $200k, our cars are 4 and 12 years old, and we eat dinner at home five or six nights a week. We have no worries about paying the bills, but we're a lot less well off than plenty of people our age because we spent our twenties working for peanuts. We'll pass many of them in earnings sometime in our fifties, which is nice but is enough of a tradeoff that I wouldn't encourage anyone to go to med school unless they just have a burning desire to be a doctor. That said, I'm sure glad I didn't go get a Ph.D. in chemistry, like I thought I wanted to do in high school.

Re:An important reminder... (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year ago | (#43184607)

Technology cannot ever fix Sociological problems, it can only mask them.

We design technology in ways so that it routes around failures, and then wonder why it fails when humans do the same thing. You want to solve the problem of people not showing up for work, you fire them or put them on 2 week unpaid leave, or doc their pay, or whatever. If you aren't going to do anything about it, then stop making noise and let them skip out.

Why is this so hard?

Re:An important reminder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184619)

A long time ago, a co-worker once told me it wouldn't be that long before employers would be using cameras and keystroke monitors to make sure employees were doing their jobs.

I pointed out to him, that as soon as they did that, they would see me working long hours, typing lots of valid source code really fast, and I would be at the beach.

If you are not going to trust your employees, you should just fire them. If that means firing everyone, then you should just shut your doors. Or maybe, just walk out and leave everything to the employees. They might surprise you.

The captcha for this was typists. I think I've seen more relevant captchas on slashdot than I have relevant comments.

Re:An important reminder... (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about a year ago | (#43184685)

(...) apathy toward cheating, or unaccountable abuse of authority to suppress people who could have blown the whistle.

Wow! How do you now so much about Brazilian public service?

Re:An important reminder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184713)

There are ones that check for a pulse body temp blood pressure etc.

Re:An important reminder... (3, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#43184759)

In addition to being a reminder that the people with a hard-on for 'biometrics' are either morons

There's a difference between 'uninformed' and 'moronic.' Part of the problem with IT security is that it's full of self-proclaimed experts who heap scorn on the uninformed instead of trying to educate them. You're not one of those, are you?

Re:An important reminder... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185019)

You educate your sociopathic boss who reads Wired and thus (thinks he) knows more about this stuff than you. You can't, and he now hates you because you "subverted his authority". Guess what? He's moronic.

At the other end of the spectrum: Go ahead and educate Johnny Salesman. His eyes glaze over, and he's now thinking about watching the big game with his Bud Lite in hand. He's not listened to a word you've said. You've wasted your time and his. Guess what? He's moronic.

The vast majority of people aren't us. The vast majority of people look at a black box and don't wonder how it works, what's inside it, or if it can be bypassed somehow. They look at a black box, and all they see is a black box. They only care enough about how it works to be comfortable enough with so they do not actively have to think about it. I'm all for the altruistic spread of knowledge, but the only thing that happens whenever you try to get people to genuinely think is that they typically come off hating you in the end.

Full hand 3D scanners are the only "good" ones. (1)

Kenja (541830) | about a year ago | (#43184489)

Granted, they can be thrown off by any change in the hands biometric signature, such as a new ring or even swelling due to allergies. But they are very hard to trick. Finger print scanners have been fooled by hot-dogs with xeroxed finger print swirls on them.

Re:Full hand 3D scanners are the only "good" ones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184563)

I've got a system which is even harder to fool. It just always spits out "denied". Sure, it will be thrown off by even the most perfect match. But it is impossible to trick it.

Bottom line: Both false positives and false negatives are bad.

Re:Full hand 3D scanners are the only "good" ones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184939)

There are no good biometric systems because keys can't be revoked. Read the rest of the comments. Anyone who promotes biometrics is either clueless and/or just likes the idea because it feels "high tech", or have an agenda of surveillance.

Re:Full hand 3D scanners are the only "good" ones. (1)

disambiguated (1147551) | about a year ago | (#43185535)

There are no good biometric systems because keys can't be revoked.

That's not a flaw, it's a feature. And it's not a key, it's an ID.

Re:Full hand 3D scanners are the only "good" ones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185885)

I think those actually read the pattern of arteries and veins in your hands. Takes surgery to fool, but can still be done.

Foolproof? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184525)

Who the hell thinks fingerprint scanners are foolproof? We've had "how to pass a fingerprint scanner" stories for a decade now.

Re:Foolproof? (1)

Lucky75 (1265142) | about a year ago | (#43184603)

Mythbusters even did it.

Re:Foolproof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184679)

iTards [appleinsider.com] .

If Apple implements fingerprint tech, it's not going to be like useless and easily fooled face recognition tech that some Fandroids were boasting about a while ago. This finger print tech needs to be very secure and not easily bypassed, otherwise what's the point?

LOL.

Been done before. (1)

TigerPlish (174064) | about a year ago | (#43184581)

This has been done before.

Prior Art. [bbc.co.uk]

Soon to be heard in Brazillan Portugese (1)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about a year ago | (#43184609)

"This fake finger smells like it has been up someone's butt!"

What? (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43184643)

No one is dumb enough to claim that finger print readers are secure. It's one step up from a password. All you need to get is a finger print from the "doctor" you want to be for the day and with a little effort you can replicate access. Out of all bio-metric security systems, finger prints are pretty insecure.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about a year ago | (#43185867)

NO!

Biometrics aren't a replacement for passwords, they're a replacement for USERNAMES. They provide a "something you have" factor to authentication, there still needs to be a "something you know."

Like usernames they aren't secret. They don't need to be secret, and they can be copied without ruining the security of the system. They don't need to be changed, and are unique to each user. Biometrics are great when used as usernames, and a security nightmare waiting to happen when used as a password.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185981)

No one is dumb enough to claim that finger print readers are secure. It's one step up from a password. All you need to get is a finger print from the "doctor" you want to be for the day and with a little effort you can replicate access. Out of all bio-metric security systems, finger prints are pretty insecure.

Actually biometrics are at least on order of magnitude worse than a password. They can't be kept secret, revoked easily, or differ between systems.

Using a fingerprint as a user ID, is ok security wise, but raises privacy concerns.

Truthfully biometrics is a pretty pointless area of research.

Old News (2)

dragon-file (2241656) | about a year ago | (#43184667)

Mythbusters already did this http://blogs.technet.com/b/steriley/archive/2006/09/20/457845.aspx [technet.com]

This happened almost 7 years ago

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184777)

Slashdot has covered it as well, and you didn't even need to be a doctor to do it.

Aussie Kids Foil Finger Scanner With Gummi Bears [slashdot.org]

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43186003)

uh, i don't think this story was posted because faking past fingerprint scanners is supposed to be something new, it was just a cool example of it happening IN REAL LIFE.

Mythbusters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184689)

They must have watched mythbusters

Biometric system is insecure by design (4, Interesting)

jd659 (2730387) | about a year ago | (#43184701)

It surprises me that many debate the “security” of the fingerprint scanners while omitting the major flaw of any biometric system – it is not revocable. You cannot simply reset someone’s fingertips if the system for that instance has been compromised. With pretty much all other authentication there’s some mechanism to delete the bad entry: a password can be reset, a certificate can be revoked, a compromised key can end up in the black list, etc. None of this is possible with any biometric system. Even if it takes an elaborate trickery and a lot of resources to duplicate a finger, a hand, or a mockup of the retina scan, once it’s done, it cannot be “cancelled” at the biometric system level.

Re:Biometric system is insecure by design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184825)

Re:Biometric system is insecure by design (3, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#43184863)

It can be canceled at the biometric level...

You are just squeamish about the organ replacement process.

I bet you found it inconvenient to change your passwords every 90 days as well.

Re:Biometric system is insecure by design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185043)

Of course it can be revoked. That just requires deauthorizing a given print from any access at all.

The problem then is, so what does that person use for access since their print is compromised? Especially since you've only got fingerprint readers at every checkpoint.

Re:Biometric system is insecure by design (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year ago | (#43185123)

Well no, but it also can't be passed over the internet in bulk like passwords can. Also, if a fingerprint scanner gets compromised, it's not so much a matter of one instance being compromised - it's the system itself. So you either need to remove the individuals who compromised it (in this case they suspended the doctors) or revamp the system.

Re:Biometric system is insecure by design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185281)

3D printers are a thing. In fact, thingverse is a thing. And the idea that there is no means for bulk physical transport of goods is just silly.

Re:Biometric system is insecure by design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185823)

I've never seen a 3D printer capable of fingerprint-level resolution.

Re:Biometric system is insecure by design (1)

eth1 (94901) | about a year ago | (#43185529)

It surprises me that many debate the “security” of the fingerprint scanners while omitting the major flaw of any biometric system – it is not revocable. You cannot simply reset someone’s fingertips if the system for that instance has been compromised. With pretty much all other authentication there’s some mechanism to delete the bad entry: a password can be reset, a certificate can be revoked, a compromised key can end up in the black list, etc. None of this is possible with any biometric system. Even if it takes an elaborate trickery and a lot of resources to duplicate a finger, a hand, or a mockup of the retina scan, once it’s done, it cannot be “cancelled” at the biometric system level.

This is less a problem with biometrics, and more a problem with the way they're used. Using a fingerprint as the ONLY authentication is idiotic, but on the other hand (heh) which would you rather have on your bank's ATM? Card+PIN, or Card+PIN+fingerprint? I can't count the number of times I've rolled up to an ATM and found a card in it, or worse, the previous user left it on the "Do you want another transaction? Yes/No" screen. Replace the Yes/Enter button with a fingerprint scanner, and that's no longer an issue (until it gets vandalized and doesn't work...).

Re:Biometric system is insecure by design (1)

disambiguated (1147551) | about a year ago | (#43185653)

You're doing it wrong. The biometric data is not like a password -- it's like a username. Do you change your username whenever you change your password? Of course not. You don't want it to be changeable or revocable. The password is separate from the biometric id. That's what you change. And obviously permissions associated with the id are modifyable/revocable. If the biometric id is compromised, you change the password, and perhaps flag the account to notify security if it is used (and the swat team if it's used with the old "revoked" password.)

Re:Biometric system is insecure by design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185739)

Yeah, that's one of the paradoxes in all this. People think that because biometric features are "unchangeable", that makes them more secure. In reality, that makes them less secure.

Re:Biometric system is insecure by design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43186279)

You cannot simply reset someone’s fingertips if the system for that instance has been compromised.

Finger, meet grinder.
Grinder, meet finger.

In all fairness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184711)

did they bypass the "foolproof security tech", or did they bypass a flawed implementation of the "foolproof security tech"?

This is one reason I've always hated biometrics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184799)

These guys were just making fakes, no big deal. I've always been concerned that with everything being done this way, a violent criminal wouldn't hesitate to cut off my digits or pluck out my eyes. Best case scenario, you're violently compelled to place your body part wherever. I'd much rather surrender my key at gunpoint and let the insurance companies deal with it.

Gummi Bears (1)

Petron (1771156) | about a year ago | (#43184843)

Why to to all the trouble with making fake fingers when all you need are gummi bears [slashdot.org]

Bypass security. Tasty snack. It's the two-in-one product of modern technology!

Not a security issue (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#43184847)

Attendance is not a security issue.

If they're allowing biometric authentication as a single factor authentication to clinical data, there's cause for concern. In this case, this is biometric identification, and is still more reliable than punching an ID into a time system.

In healthcare, biometrics are usually used, if at all, as a second factor for authentication. (And that usage is rare because certain demographics have fingerprints that are not reliably read by most scanners.)

Re:Not a security issue (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year ago | (#43185095)

(And that usage is rare because certain demographics have fingerprints that are not reliably read by most scanners.)

I assistant coached my daughter's soccer team and they had the FBI at the orientation with a fingerprint scanner for all the coaches. I have sweaty hands and after the third try in 104 degree weather (that's 40C), he accepted the slimy unreadable print.

Re:Not a security issue (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#43185733)

Yes, the FBI should be present at all soccer games to make sure you don't molest the 8 year old little league girls. Don't you watch the news? 87% of the country is pedophiles and the other 13% is kids.

Basically... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43184851)

...they gave the government the finger...

Fake fingers are nothing (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43184893)

Here we use fake doctors [cracked.com] ...

Oh, uh, hey Jim. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about a year ago | (#43184927)

You appear to have dropped your finger there buddy, gotta be more careful with that!

Brazilian banks also use finger prints (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185171)

In Brazil banks started to use ATM's with finger print reading.
Only the finger print is necessary to withdraw money from your account...

http://www.tecmundo.com.br/banco/34422-adeus-cartao-de-banco-itau-e-bradesco-autorizam-saques-via-impressao-digital.htm (in portuguese)

Brazilians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185215)

Also goes to show how much effort Brazilians put into avoiding work.

Re:Brazilians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43185415)

It was in Bahia. There is a lot of slackers there.

Much better than the alternative (1)

bl968 (190792) | about a year ago | (#43185469)

Biometrics have one fatal flaw that has always scared the hell out of me. If someone wants past biometrics, they will either develop fake body parts that work as good as the original, or they will just remove the actual body part.

Re:Much better than the alternative (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a year ago | (#43185705)

Yeah, and I'm sure I've seen movies where that happened with eye scanners!

Biometrics are not at fault here (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#43185665)

it's the piss-poor AI. Even the dumbest human in the world can instantly tell if a person is actually sticking his own finger in the scanner or if he's holding a plastic fake, with 100% accuracy.

Kurzweil may have wet dreams about singularity, but I don't think computers can ever achieve awareness. They lack atman, immortal soul, theta, life essence, the Force, or whatever you wanna call it.

All the biometric criticism is missing the point. (2)

ThisIsSaei (2397758) | about a year ago | (#43185763)

The fact that the doctors were trusted as both the authenticating-client and the key-holder was the issue here. Not biometric authentication. There was no promise that the doctors were not the malicious users themselves, but rather the authenticating-client here had an inherent incentive (getting paid without working) to help defeat the system. So, for all the criticism of biometric systems here -- we're missing the point, the implementation was incorrect to start. Attacking the medium is misguided, and also composed of (mostly) stupid arguments.

If this was a story of doctors having others falsify their time-cards or sharing keys it wouldn't have the same "people who like x auth method are idiots", but since it involves some slightly higher tech punch-in... well, here we are.

There's no such thing as a secure system. Just an inconvenient-to-defeat system; the weakest link/low-hanging fruit and all that. Biometric merely provides another authentication factor that can be used - so pointing to cases where people helped defeat their own locks is akin to saying that your buddy let me make copies of his keys, just look insecure keys are! It's silly. Correct implementation is key before you judge a system.

Bogus Headline for semi bogus article (2)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about a year ago | (#43185873)

Buried in the article

"Most current fingerprint scanners have technology that can detect whether the finger has a pulse, and some read fingerprints at a depth below skin level, which would render the silicon fingers useless. Apparently, that hospital is using an older type of scanner."

Old, crappy technology fooled. Whoopie.

And it appears that this was an organized criminal enterprise:

"The mayor of Ferraz de Vasconcelos, Acir Fillo, said there might be as many as 300 hospital employees who do not exist, except for fake fingers with their prints, but who get paid anyway."

And what grownup thinks any security technology is "foolproof", let alone "motivated criminal enterprise proof"? The technology isn't perfect, therefore it's crap?

And by the way - "silicon" fingers? Bet you a dollar that should have been "silicone".

If this guy is actually paid to write this crap, he needs to be fired.

RTFA (2)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#43186025)

Obsolete tech.

When I first saw the headlines for this story I immediately went to a much darker place. I envisioned doctors going into the morgue and borrowing a few digits for use in fooling the machines. I mean, it's not like those guys needed them any more. Things like this have happened before.

Then I realized this wouldn't work. For one thing, they'd have the wrong prints. For another, they'd be, well, a bit chilly.

Most current fingerprint scanners have technology that can detect whether the finger has a pulse, and some read fingerprints at a depth below skin level, which would render the silicon fingers useless. Apparently, that hospital is using an older type of scanner.

Giving biometric scanners the (fake) finger [itworld.com]

Inside job.

The perfect example of corruption and conspiracy that begins --- and must begin --- at the top.

Another television network said it was the head of the emergency room that ran the scam and that his daughter had not worked a day in three years but got paid all the time.

Fake fingers to fool the boss at Brazil hospital [france24.com]

Ferreira confessed to using different fake fingers bearing the prints of 11 fellow doctors and 20 nurses in order to pretend they were showing up to work five overnight shifts each month, instead of just one, police said.

Ferreira also said the staff at the Ferraz Vasconcelos Hospital paid $2,400 per month to participate.

The doctor will face charges of falsifying a public document and could get two to six years in prison.

Brazilian doctor caught using fake fingers in biometrics scam [theprovince.com]

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